World Forest Institute International Fellowship 411 views

Type of Funding

Partially funded




The 2020 World Forest Institute International Fellowship Program is a 6-month fellowship program for natural resource professionals from around the world, which will take place from 6 April 2020 to 6 October 2020, at the World Forest Institute’s campus in Portland, Oregon, during which Fellows gain invaluable insight and understanding into how the US forestry sector operates. Oregon is an ideal learning ground for the program because of its rich natural resources, innovative history in forest management, an important timber sector, and academic centers of excellence in both forestry and urban forestry, as well as green building and sustainability.

The 6-month fellowship is a professional development program concentrated on networking, making connections with other professionals, and gaining knowledge extension. There are 3 main components to the program:

  • Conducting a project (30% of the time): Fellows propose a research topic in natural resources that will take advantage of people and organizations knowledgeable in the proposed topic located in the Pacific Northwest, and benefit their careers when going back to their countries of origin to apply the learned knowledge. Proposals related to policy, industry, or market-oriented are preferred.
  • Networking with public and private forestry organizations in the US, especially in the Pacific Northwest: 35% of the time will be spent on group and individual study tours and meetings; site visits to forestry agencies, research labs, universities, public and private timberlands, trade associations, mills, and corporations.
  • Educational outreach: 35% of the time will be spent on research presentations, in-house events, and public outreach).

This is not this is not a post-doc or other university-related type program.


Fellows receive a monthly stipend of approximately US$1,600 through World Forest Institute (WFI), which comes from the Fellowship program fee that is payable by the candidate. A matching grant is available from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation to cover 50% of the Fellowship program fee, which is US$10,000. Hence fellows only pay US$5,000, provided they obtain a matching 50% sponsorship from another organization, or they self-fund. As a condition of the matching grant, fellows have to participate in the annual week-long June study tour at Harry A. Merlo’s ranch.

The Fellowship Fee goes towards paying the monthly stipend and full program operations. The stipend of US$1,600 is generally sufficient to cover rent for shared housing, utilities, phone, and food on an average budget. Fellows will also receive a public transportation pass for the Portland metro area. Similarly, there is a 50% matching grant for the J-1 visa program fees.

Every year WFI awards scholarships for qualified candidates on financial need bases. The WFI scholarship accounts for 50% of the program fee (US$5,000). Scholarship recipients are responsible for paying for visa fees and traveling costs.


Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have at least a Bachelors degree in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree (e.g. architects working with wood products) and 3 to 5 years of relevant work experience. Proficiency in English is required, as they must be able to comprehend, communicate, and present on a professional level in English using natural resources technical vocabulary. They must submit an initial project/research proposal on a topic containing the following components:

  • A clear research topic, e.g. urban forest inventory, biomass supply-chain, carbon policy, forestry regulation, conservation finance;
  • Essential questions the project/research will address, e.g. how to collect data in an urban forest, quantify biomass production, work with key stay holders, map decision making processes, and how to identify successful projects and funding;
  • Organizations and people the fellows proposes to meet and/or collaborate with in the Pacific Northwest;
  • A plan to implement lessons learned, e.g. host a seminar, write and/or publish a paper, or start a new organization; and
  • A statement on how the project findings will have a positive impact on the sustainability of forestry in the fellow’s country.

Applicants should be self-motivated and able to work independently and with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.


The application form, which is available online, is to be submitted via email by 15 October 2019.

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